For the case scenario, discuss the standard(s) of care that the parties will be held in this case. How will the standards of care and the Nurse Practice Act for “Alabama” be applied in a court of law if the case is sued?
SK, age 61, was admitted to the hospital. Because of understaffing of nurses in the hospital, her assigned RN did not assess her often enough and did not monitor her oxygen level.
SK went to the hospital with what she thought was a bad cold, and was admitted with a diagnosis of pneumonia. Following admission, she became increasingly feverish and short of breath, but her family’s calls for help went unanswered. In fact, her daughter was unable to find anyone when she went to the nurses’ station looking for help. The patient eventually stopped breathing, and someone finally responded to the family’s desperate and frantic calls for help. SK was successfully resuscitated but sustained brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. She was left unable to walk, talk, or care for herself.
There were 41 other patients on this unit. Although the hospital’s own staffing standards called for 5 registered nurses and 2 licensed practical nurses to staff this unit, only 3 registered nurses were on duty. Records for the unit in question indicated that the hospital failed to meet its own staffing standards for 51 out of 59 days before this incident.
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